Postscript on Control Societies

September 21, 2011

From the essay, it would seem as though this shift away from a society of discipline towards a society of control largely takes place in the metaphysical realm. In disciplinary societies, we were bound by a physical power within a physical barrier such as a school, barracks, or prison. That is to say, everything that restrained or feared by was tangible in the physical realm. As we explore the differences with a control society, all those physical barriers are being replaced by ones that we no longer see or know about, such as debt or the unknown being that sits on top of the hierarchy of capitalism.

“Capitalism in its present form is no longer directed toward production…”

We’ve steadily moved away from paying for objects that are created for their use or purpose, and have now focused on buying objects for their brand worth which is nothing more than a nametag separating it from the same object in a different store. As Deleuze puts it, “what it (capitalism) seeks to sell is services, and what it seeks to buy, activities”, since these branded objects aren’t produced in a factory that is of the same calibre as the price it’s sold for, instead, “production is often transferred to remote parts of the Third World”.

In previous centuries, what was paid for was always a trade of object or skill, and few would have paid for miscellaneous items that contributed little other than for pure personal satisfaction, which presently we are all victim to. Everything had a purpose to its being as defined by ‘simple machines, levers, pulleys, clocks’, as opposed to ‘thermodynamic machines presenting the passive danger of entropy and the active danger of sabotage’.

It seems unlikely that we could return back to a time when the value of an object was dependant on the skill it allowed for rather than satisfaction, as this shift into a society of control continues to prey on the society of want instead of need.




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